Web Is the Hot Place to Book a Speaker The Internet has made it easier than ever to find the right speaker for your event or meeting. The National Speakers Association (www.nsaspeaker.org) has enhanced its Web site with the addition of an online version of its 2000 edition of Who's Who in Professional Speaking: The Meeting Planner's Guide.

The print version of NSA's latest resource book is a 475-page directory of more than 4,000 professional speakers in 23 countries. The book lists NSA members alphabetically with photos, contact information, and professional descriptions. Speakers are categorized by topic, location, and expertise and sections of the print version also offer tips to meeting planners for hiring and working with speakers. For a copy, call the NSA at (480) 968-2552.

To access the directory on line, go to NSA's Web site and click on the "Find a Speaker" section to begin your search.

And There's More The American Society of Association Executives, Washington, D.C., struck a deal with SpeakersDirect.com (www.speakersdirect.com) that allows ASAE members to book speakers at a discount through a link on ASAE's Web site.

SpeakersDirect.com, also based in D.C., has an e-commerce tool that allows meeting planners to not only search a database of 1,000 speakers, but also to check availability, preview a video of the speaker, view speaker fees, submit an offer, and complete the contract--all online.

ASAE calls it Book-a-Speaker on its Web site (www.asaenet.org), which allows members to submit offers at less than the official listing price in private bidding with the speaker that can go a couple of rounds. The idea: Some speakers, depending on availability, may be willing to perform at less than their asking price.

I am sorry Mr. Clemons was, and others may have been, offended by my quote in the roundtable discussion regarding our industry and "old white guys" (Letters to the Editor, February 2000, page 12). It was not meant to be sexist or racist. Rather it was to make a point: It cannot be argued that corporations and associations have, for many, many years, been run by white males. The business press (Business Week, Fortune, Forbes) run articles that detail how many women are currently serving on corporate boards. Colleagues in the industry bemoan the number of white men who are paraded across stages at industry meetings.

Those who make and enforce policy, hire and fire, etc. should reflect the makeup of our industry where so many women, people of color, and younger people are in the "trenches." We are far from there.

I thought the millennium started when I watched hours of fireworks and festivities on December 31. But that was not so.

You catapulted me into the new millennium with February's articles on "Working in the Fast Lane," "Velocity = Speed + Direction," "Power of Portals," and "The Next Generation" (February 2000, pages 34, 6, 37, and 150, respectively). Thank you.

* taking a bow OnCenter Celebrates Inner Circle Award When the OnCenter convention center complex received its Inner Circle Award from this magazine earlier this year, the state of New York joined in congratulating the Syracuse, N.Y., facility by passing a legislative resolution in January showering accolades on the center for having received the award.

The Inner Circle Award is given to the top 10 convention centers in the country, as voted every year by readers of this magazine, for excellence in service and facilities. (Other categories of the award include best convention bureau and best hotel or resort.)

The seven-year-old complex includes the Onondaga County Convention Center and War Memorial Arena, and the John H. Mulroy Civic Center theaters.